Building Community Water Connections
Explore Water! aims to engage citizens and youth in 13 rural and tribal communities in the Four Corners Region of the southwestern U.S. to learn about and explore the science and cultural assets of water. Rural and tribal communities are underserved with respect to science programming; their public libraries often function as the local science center.
The program’s interdisciplinary team will develop, deploy, research and evaluate an interactive traveling exhibit for small libraries, designed around regional water topics and complemented by interactive programming and community engagement events. Additionally, the team will develop and foster a Community of Practice (CoP) among the host librarians through a support system to increase their science programming as part of the NSF-funded STAR Library Network. This program fills a critical gap in effective models for providing and expanding science learning opportunities in rural and tribal communities. Overall, this project advances the informal Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) learning field by serving as a model for engaging underserved communities through locally relevant science topics; specifically, issues around water will be combined with art as an entrée into climate science. This project will make significant contributions to advancing the informal science learning field with respect to:
1) enhancing knowledge building;
2) strengthening infrastructure and building capacity; and
3) broadening participation.
four state libraries in the Four Corners Region